By Bethany Baird, Crosswalk.com
With dating sites becoming the norm, I think we should do ourselves a favor and dig into the topic of online dating (especially as we head into this month typically focused on romantic love).
Before we do, I have to be honest with you. Tackling the topic of online dating is a little intimidating for me. I have several really close friends that I greatly admire who stand on opposite sides of the spectrum on this issue. Some godly friends of mine love online dating to pieces, and some godly friends are strongly opposed to it.
There are also amazing Christian ministries I highly respect with competing views on the subject. With all of these different perspectives, we can’t help but wonder, should we consider online dating or not?
As a twenty-nine-year-old unmarried Christian woman, I’ve done my fair share of reading, praying, and thinking through how to best honor God in the area of romantic relationships.
I’ve had multiple conversations and read many blogs and articles about online dating. I’ve decided to boil all of that information down into this one teeny-tiny blog post. There is so much to be said on the topic, and I realize I can’t address every aspect of the conversation today.
The goal of this blog post is to help you think through the pros and cons of online dating and both sides of the argument.
Why Online Dating Isn’t for Me
Let me start by sharing my personal online dating “status” with you. I’ve never used online dating. I don’t believe it’s the path for me. I believe that online dating would only be a distraction for me, and I never had any peace about using it personally.
My life verse (Prov. 3:5–6) has really become my personal mantra on the issue of dating and relationships:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths
That has been my prayer over the past several years as I’ve waited for God’s timing for romance. I want to trust wholeheartedly that God will guide me in the direction He wants me to go through His Word and the wise people around me. I don’t want to try and take control or make something happen on my own. For me, that’s meant “no” for online dating.
However, I don’t see anything in the Bible forbidding online dating. My decision is a personal preference, not a line in the sand. When it comes to online dating, you have to weigh your own pros and cons with the Bible as your guide.
If you’ve ever thought about using online dating, I highly encourage you to think, pray, and weigh the pros and cons before ever getting online. Don’t do it blindly or in a hurry because your friends encourage you to do it. Don’t do it out of fear or a lack of trust in God. If you’re motivated to start clicking because you’re wrestling with fear you will never get married, I’d encourage you to wait. Invest time reading God’s Word and ask Him to help you trust Him more in this area of your life.
So is online dating ever a good idea? Let’s consider the pros and cons.
It can help differentiate the intentional from the non-intentional.
I’ve heard it said that online dating really helps narrow down the singles who are serious about marriage from the ones who aren’t.
It expands your pool of fish.
By going online, you will have many more potential options. No longer are you just limited to the tiny pool of people you personally know, but you now have access to people all over the country and sometimes even the world.
It offers personality, religion, and preference matches.
Online dating sites are well known for matching guys and girls up according to personality, religion, and preferences, etc. Many believe that this helps narrow down the options and gives a better chance of relationship success.
You can make your marriage interest known.
Online dating is often for the purpose of finding your lifelong match. Guys online will most likely appreciate a girl who’s intentional about marriage and who’s interested in a guy doing the same.
There are dangers of the unknown.
Let’s just be real. You’re a girl going online and getting to know total strangers. That can be a little scary. It’s not possible to know with certainty that the person on the other side of the screen is safe.
It’s a time consumer.
I’ve heard several people who’ve used online dating say that it requires a lot of time to create a profile, keep up with emails, and get to know the different potentials. Before you create your online dating profile, consider whether you have that time to spend at this stage of your life.
There’s a financial investment.
Online dating sites aren’t free. They require memberships and membership fees.
How secure is your private information?
Going online requires you to fork over a bunch of personal information. (That’s how they make the matches.) I’ve read in several places that many online dating sites aren’t totally secure, making it somewhat easy for hackers to get into your account and access your info. That’s concerning.
Everyone puts their best foot forward.
Online dating gives the users the chance to put their best foot forward and keep the ugly in the back. It can be difficult to know the true beliefs, convictions, and character of the guys you meet.
Are you rushing through the single years?
God is working in your life and giving you opportunities to grow and become more like Jesus. Singleness isn’t a bad thing. Think through the possible work God might have for you to do in this season of singleness before getting online.
Remember the Point
Your life is about reflecting Christ and pointing others to Him, not to find a date or a mate. Fully strive to trust in Him, rely on Him, and rest in Him, and ask for His guidance as you consider online dating. He loves to give us wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:5)!
Just remember that God is bigger, mightier, and more amazing than you could ever imagine. Don’t underestimate His sovereign control over your love life. Seek to trust in Him with all of your heart, and He truly will make your “relationship” path clear.
This article originally appeared on Revive Our Hearts and LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. Used with permission.
Bethany Baird: After a brief experience in the modeling industry, Bethany’s eyes were opened to how self-absorbed and lost her generation of young women really are. She and her older sister were inspired to start a blog (www.GirlDefined.com) and wrote a book Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity and Identity. Their passion is to help young women find God’s truth about beauty and womanhood and the freedom that comes from living a radically different life for Christ.
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